Digital Television Frequencies

  • Maurice Williamson

The Minister of Communications, Hon Maurice Williamson, announced today that the Government has authorised an auction of spectrum licences suitable for the transmission of digital terrestrial television (DTT) signals within the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) television bands. The auction will be conducted by the Ministry of Commerce, by August 1999.

To assist consumers in the transition to digital, the Government has reserved sufficient spectrum so that existing free to air broadcasts can be "simulcast" in digital format for a transitional period. "This will enable broadcasters to provide existing free to air programmes in digital format, while allowing the public to continue to receive these services in the current analogue format throughout the transition period" said the Minister.

While complex issues are involved in any move to new broadcasting technologies, the Government has taken a firm decision to facilitate access to spectrum at an early stage. This will assist broadcasters in planning for the introduction of existing analogue television services based on digital technology.